An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
What happens when a troubled introvert is "adopted" by a pair of extroverts? This PG-13 film deals with some real issues for adolescents: promiscuity, suicide, bullying, sudden death, homosexuality, drug use, mental illness and first love. All done with a deft touch, a bit of humor and some wry observations. Writer/producer/director Stephen Chbosky (you pronounce it!) wrote the screenplay based on his novel by the same name; clearly he is a young talent to watch!
Here are some of the excellent actors:
Logan Lerman (the "Percy Jackson" franchise) is Charlie, dealing with the recent death of a close friend and the death of his favorite aunt when he was little. Our unfortunate hero is a brainy freshman who really does NOT fit in.
Emily Watson ("The Ballet Shoes") is Sam, the senior girl who "adopts" Charlie, simply because he is a misfit. She squandered her first year of high school and is trying to reinvent herself and get into college.
Ezra Miller ("City Island") is Patrick, the other half of the duo who sweeps our young hero into acceptance and confusion. Patrick's lively intellect masks a broken heart and a genuine concern for his friends.
Paul Rudd ("Wanderlust") is Mr. Anderson, the English teacher we all want in our schools. He can spot talent, but also understands if his students are reluctant to participate in classroom discussions.
I can't begin to list all of the capable actors in this piece; I can only say there isn't a weak performance. I must caution parents, however, that this is no "Percy Jackson." The subject matter is far more sophisticated than Logan Lerman's fans might expect; please re-read the first paragraph of my review.
Along with some real wit and Emily Watson (Hermione in "Harry Potter") speaking American you can expect very little profanity, no sweaty bodies, some drug use, and only allusions to the other issues. The young adults in the screening audience applauded this one!